Navy picked up a crucial come from behind victory on Saturday as they shut down Lafayette in the second half and escaped Easton, Pa. with the win. Navy was down by as many as eight in the second half, but the Mids showed spirit and energy as the game wore on to grind their way back into it and tied the game at 57 with just under five minutes to go. Navy was almost perfect (7-of-8) from the line with the game on the line to close things out without too much drama.
Here is a look back at the three keys:
1. Keep Tilman Dunbar hot - Pass
Tilman Dunbar is having way too much fun with his game right now. Dunbar came into the game averaging 17.3 points per game over his last six and he improved that number by putting up 21 on Saturday. Dunbar was 6-of-11 from the field, 8-of-12 from the line and even added in six assists for good measure as he filled up the stat sheet. We said coming in that it was important to keep Dunbar hot for as long as possible if Navy was to make a late season run and the Mids senior guard passed his first test with flying colors.
2. The best against the worst – Fail
Interestingly Navy failed on both ends of this metric. The Mids came in averaging giving up just 62.5 points per game and then proceeded to give up 68. Lafayette came into the contest averaging giving up 81.8 points per game and only gave up 74. This was due largely to a poor shooting first half from the Midshipmen as Navy scored just 30 points in the first half compared to 44 points after the break. In the end though Navy was close enough to each of those averages to take home the win.
3. Force 15 turnovers – Fail
Navy led the Patriot League in turnovers forced per game coming into this one with an average of 13.8 turnovers forced per game. Against Lafayette though the Navy pressure never really got going and the Leopards were comfortable with their passing and decision making with the ball at both ends of the court. The result was that Navy was only able to force seven turnovers, with most of those mistakes coming from bench players as the Lafayette starters proved to be up to the task of keeping the ball secure. Navy will hope this is just a blip in their output and not something to worry about as the tournaments approach.